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Marcia Gay Harden

Film Review: ‘Parkland’ Starkly Recreates November 22, 1963

CHICAGO – It’s been close to 50 years since 11/22/1963, the day when a certain American innocence was lost with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In time for that anniversary, is the excellent film overview entitled “Parkland.”

TV Review: ABC Launches New Comedies ‘The Goldbergs,’ ‘Trophy Wife’

CHICAGO – It takes guts or stupidity to launch an entire night of new programing but that’s what ABC is attempting this evening, September 24, 2013. And they’re not even doing it consistently in terms of genre and quality. It starts strong with “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and ends on a whimper with “Lucky 7.” In between?

Blu-ray Review: ‘A Cat in Paris’ Has Fun Moments in Frustrating Movie

A Cat in Paris

CHICAGO – One of two surprising 2012 Oscar nominees for Best Animated Film (the other being “Chico & Rita”), “A Cat in Paris” was just released in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack Special Edition and viewers may be curious what enticed Academy members. The film has its diversions but it’s ultimately a film that only reminds one of better works and barely comes together. It would work as a TV special but its 62-minute length isn’t the only thing that keep it back from being a fully-realized feature.

TV Review: TNT’s ‘Scott Turow’s Innocent’ Deserves Prosecution

Scott Turow's Innocent

CHICAGO – With the success of mystery shows like “C.S.I.” and “The Mentalist,” why not try and bring back a staple of the ’70s and ’80s TV scene, the mystery movie of the week? Such is the thinking behind TNT’s programmers, as the network will debut a whopping four stand-alone mystery movies in the next month, starting with tonight’s debut of “Scott Turow’s Innocent,” starring Bill Pullman, Marcia Gay Harden, Alfred Molina, and Richard Schiff. Despite the stellar cast, this is a limp, dull effort that will only serve to remind viewers why they don’t make TV movies like this often any more.

TV Review: ‘Royal Pains’ Returns With Summer Prescription

Royal Pains

CHICAGOUSA’s “Royal Pains” was one of the most surprising hits of 2009, the #1 new show of the summer season, and it returns even more confident, entertaining, and close-to-perfect with its second season premiere on June 3rd, 2010. It’s highly unlikely that the show will lose any viewers and the buzz around the sophomore season and the release of the first on DVD should actually see numbers increase.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,’ ‘Mystic River’

Fear and Loathing BD

CHICAGO – I know what you’re thinking: What do “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “Mystic River” have in common? Nothing at all other than a Blu-ray release date of February 2nd, 2010. Oh, and they’re two films you should probably own if you have a Blu-ray player.

Blu-Ray Review: Girl Power Drives Entertaining ‘Whip It’

Whip It

CHICAGO – Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut “Whip It” is the kind of fun, girl-power driven comedy that I honestly expected would find a huge word-of-mouth audience in theaters. Its absolutely dismal box office ($13 million) was one of the biggest financial surprises of 2009. People are likely to catch up with the Ellen Page comedy on Blu-ray and DVD.

TV Review: Rose Byrne, Glenn Close Return in ‘Damages’

CHICAGO – The second season of ‘Damages,’ recently released on DVD, was still quality television but felt like a bit of a letdown after the spectacular first season of this amazing show. Naturally, expectations are high for the premiere of season three.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bad Words

    Looming over “Bad Words” is the potential it could have had, as is, were it released ten years ago. With its focus of R-rated behavior poking at the projected innocence of children, along with the couple of chromosomes that keep Bateman’s Trilby from being a Vince Vaughn character, this movie is certainly a product of the comedies that have sculpted out the manchild story in the past decade.

  • Winter's Tale

    The theatrical poster for “Winter’s Tale,” after promising that “It’s not a true story, it’s a love story,” made a large demand from its viewers at the bottom: “This Valentine’s Day, Believe In Miracles.” While there is indeed a difference between filmmaking and marketing, it is hard to not imagine writer/director Akiva Goldsman whispering “believe in miracles” into the ear of every executive who helped “Winter’s Tale” come to life, immediately after throwing glitter on them.

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